Penrose Library Blog

Books for winter break reading!

by Amy Blau  Dec 15 16

If all of the snow and wintry weather make you want to curl up with a good book, Penrose Library staff have some recommendations. If Penrose Library owns the book, we’ve marked it with an asterisk (it may or may not be currently available).

Paige Morfitt
I just finished the Hythrun Chronicles: Wolfblade series by Jennifer Fallon. I highly recommend it. It’s like Game of Thrones without the intense sex/incest parts. It’s really exciting and unpredictable.

I also started War and Peace* because winter seems like a very fitting time to read a Russian author.

Melissa Salrin
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple.* Quirky, fun, quick read with depth. And who doesn’t want today to be different?

Christel Holce
The young Oxford book of timewarp stories by Dennis Pepper.* It has a variety of short stories, which are always good when working at a job with a lot of interruptions, and each story is unique with a twist ending that really changes your perspective. And children’s books are always fun!

Bridget Danielson
The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. Recipes and explanations.

For fun: The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer. An urban fantasy in the Daniel Faust series.

Jen Pope
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Because if there really is a Sisterhood of the Chattering Nuns, then I want to visit.

Ben Murphy
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell.* An entertaining read that weaves six related stories over several decades. There’s time-travelers, body-swappers, and other fantastical and metaphysical twists, but strong writing and engaging characters makes it still feel plausible and relevant.

Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin. The first in a trilogy titled Remembrance of Earth’s Past, this hard science fiction novel is essentially a story of “first contact” between Earth and an alien civilization, but it approaches this familiar trope from interesting angles. It has some dense discussions of theoretical physics, but it was accessible to this non-scientist reader. It broaches profound questions about the significance of Earth and humanity in the universe.

Julie Carter
I just finished The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi.* In a not-so-distant future, this dystopian thriller explores what happens in an American Southwest characterized by diminishing water supplies and climatic catastrophe. A quick and exciting read!

Dalia Corkrum
I recently read Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist by Sunil Yapa.* It’s a novel that uses 1999 WTO protests in Seattle to explore issues of class, gender, violence, and race as they impact personal relationships and political structures. A great read – highly recommended.

I’m planning on reading over break: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen.* Why? There’s only one boss!

James McNeill Whistler, “Reading by lamplight [1],” 1858. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-ac7b-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

ILL and Summit end-of-semester deadlines 2016

by Amy Blau  Nov 30 16

As the end of the semester approaches, bringing due dates for papers and projects, Penrose Library staff want to help you find and access sources that you need for your research. Please be aware of some general policies and specific end-of-semester deadlines for students.

Books, DVDs, microfilm, and other tangible media (see below for articles)

Interlibrary loan (ILL) for print books and media materials can take a while, especially if items are coming from far away. The Access Services Department stopped requesting out-of-country and non-regional US loan items for students as of last week due to the time constraints for shipping. They will continue to place requests for ILL items within the Pacific Northwest/California and Montana until December 7. If you have any rush requests, please let Jen Pope know immediately. (These ILL ordering deadlines do not apply to faculty and staff.)

For Summit items (print books and media materials), allow at least five business days for delivery, as usual. You may request Summit materials during finals week, but they are very unlikely to arrive before the end of the semester. Materials that arrive after the end of the semester will be held at the Circulation Desk for seven days; if they have not been picked up before the Library closes for break, they will be sent back to their home institution before the beginning of the Spring semester. You may re-order such materials in mid-January.

Articles via ILL

Orders for articles via ILL are placed when the library is open, regardless of the time of year. Usually the turnaround time for an article via ILL is within 48 hours, although it can take longer, depending on the journal and the providing library. Once they have arrived, electronic ILL articles remain available in your ILL account for 21 days. After that point, the articles are removed from your account and must be requested again, so it is a good idea to download your article as soon as you receive notification that it has arrived. Do be sure to leave yourself a cushion of a couple of days when requesting ILL articles!

Returning materials at the end of the semester

You can check on due dates for your Penrose, Summit, and ILL materials in your Sherlock account. Before you leave campus, please return items that are due while you will be away! Seniors who have completed a thesis in the fall, please return all materials and your locker key! Seniors who are continuing work on a thesis in the spring semester should direct any questions about due dates for materials to the Circulation Desk.

Winter Break Library Hours

Penrose Library will close at 5 pm on Friday, December 16. It will be on a 9 am to 5 pm schedule December 17-22, and will be closed December 23-January 2. It will reopen at 9 am on Tuesday, January 3. Library staff will not be in to process any borrowing requests during that break.

Poster showing a mortarboard and a pair of glasses superimposed over a globe, promoting use of libraries.

Image credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, WPA Poster Collection, LC-USZC2-5183 (color film copy slide). Chicago : Illinois WPA Art Project [between 1936 and 1941]. https://www.loc.gov/item/98508155/. There are no known restrictions on use of this image.

Library classes for Spring 2016

by Amy Blau  Nov 15 16

Do you want to learn how to navigate the Library’s resources with ease and find the best sources for your papers and assignments? Are you interested in learning how a scrapbook, a map, or a lock of hair can become a primary source for your research? Take a library class this spring!

Library 100 will introduce you to the resources and services of Penrose Library, and help you feel comfortable and confident doing research. We’ll focus on developing information literacy skills, helping you find, evaluate, and effectively use sources. It will be offered Thursday from 2:30 to 3:30 on a credit/no credit basis and is a one-credit class. Please contact Amy Blau (509-527-4905) with questions.

Library 300 focuses on the structure and politics of archival collections, the interrogation of a wide variety of primary sources, and the development of cross-disciplinary research questions, based on the holdings of the Whitman College and Northwest Archives. It will be offered on Tuesdays from 2:30 – 3:30 on a credit/no credit basis and is a one-credit class. Please contact Melissa Salrin (509-526-4731) with questions.

Celebrate International Games Day 2016

by Amy Blau  Nov 14 16

Post by Lee Keene

Games are an important part of cultural heritage, and have served in that role for millennia. Indeed, they are as important as literature, art, and music, but rarely do we think of them as raw material for study and analysis.

We are in the midst of a golden age of board games. Sales of titles such as Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, and Twilight Struggle are at an all- time high. They serve as an alternative to online gaming especially in the way they enable face-to-face interactions among players.

But more interesting is the way that traditional games like Monopoly and Candy Land tell stories not just through their game play, but suggest greater cultural trends. They represent and reflect the time and cultural context they were created in and provide common cultural references.

Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies, Eunice Blavascunas tells us: “There is both a spontaneity and unexpectedness with face to face board game play.  Students use an iterative process during playtime.  Also because games have a built in element of trying and wanting to win, there is more attentiveness and focus used when playing board games.  In this labile state of mind students make new neural connections.”

Tabletop games have the potential to tell subtle narratives about gender (why have the human characters in Candy Land become “sexed-up”?), economics and income-inequality (we all learn our first lessons about money via Monopoly, how do those lessons shape our ideas about capitalism?), and political realities (why create a game, Kolejka, that reproduces the experience of waiting in line in a controlled economy in 1980’s Poland?).

To some extent, we form our impressions of historical realities and the world around us through the games we play during youth.  I suggest that the Cold War, for our current students, is an unknown construct. Could they learn about the U.S. versus USSR via the game “Twilight Struggle”, and how accurate are those historical conditions as presented on the game board?

These games are available to check-out at Penrose library. Gather a group and enjoy a face-to-face (technology-free) evening. International Games Day is on November 19!

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Group playing game.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-7870-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Image from the New York Public Library. See a GIF of this image from the NYPL’s Stereogranimator: http://stereo.nypl.org/view/32527

Presidential election 1916

by Amy Blau  Nov 3 16

On October 11, the Fivethirtyeight blog predicted starkly different outcomes of the 2016 US presidential election if only men voted versus if only women voted. This sparked many reactions, including the trending of the hashtag #repealthe19th on Twitter. It’s worth noting, though, that in fact some women in the United States had the right to vote before the 19th amendment to the Constitution became federal law on August 26, 1920. The presidential election of 1916 is an interesting case for the analysis of gender in voting trends. A 1916 article in the Ladies’ Home Journal presented the potential significance of the women’s vote:

“Four million women will have the privilege to vote for a President of the United States this year… These four million women represent twelve states, which cast ninety-one ballots in the electoral college which elects the President. As a President must receive two hundred and sixty-six electoral-college votes necessary to a choice, the twelve equal-suffrage states represent little more than one-third of the total necessary to a choice. At the last Presidential election, in 1912, just one-half, six, of the present total of states gave the privilege to women to vote, and those states cast only thirty-seven electoral votes… Some revealing results will come from women’s votes this year, and they will tell much as to how large a part of the women in the states where they can vote really care about it to the extent of actually voting.” [1]

The states where women could vote in 1916 were mostly in the West: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois (only in the presidential race, not for congressional races), Kansas, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. As the Ladies’ Home Journal quotation indicates, there was very strong interest nationwide in women’s votes. The sitting president Woodrow Wilson had opposed granting women suffrage on the federal level, although he had voiced support for it on a state-by-state basis in 1915 and 1916 and had ensured that the national Democratic platform endorsed woman suffrage. [2] His opponent, Republican candidate Charles Evans Hughes, endorsed a national amendment for suffrage.

In the run-up to the 1916 election, a group of suffragists led by Alice Paul organized the National Woman’s Party, whose members would be enfranchised women, and whose goal was to promote a national amendment on suffrage. [3] In the spring of 1916, the campaign train (dubbed the “Suffrage Special,” the “Petticoat Special,” or the “Golden Special” for the wealth of the women who were working there) brought suffragists West to campaign for their issue. Supposedly the National Woman’s Party was independent, but the participation of many of its founders in earlier protests against the Democratic party for its dismissal of a federal amendment in favor of woman’s suffrage in 1914  meant that its goals were associated with Hughes and the Republican party.


The sun. (New York [N.Y.]), 12 Nov. 1916. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030431/1916-11-12/ed-1/seq-49/

Of the twelve suffrage states, only two went to Hughes (Illinois and Oregon), and women’s votes were viewed to have helped in Wilson’s victory in Kansas, and in other states including California. The 1916 election also saw the election of the first woman to Congress, Republican Jeannette Rankin, who represented Montana from 1917 to 1919. For those who like to play with statistics, there is an interactive map of the 1916 presidential results.

The outcomes of women’s votes in the 1916 presidential election were seen as surprising:

“On July 15, say, it would have been hard indeed to find a political prognosticator who would have believed the women’s votes would win for Wilson. It seems they did. Wilson was against the Anthony amendment; Hughes was for it; and the great organized women’s forces were determined to show their power by punishing Wilson. Instead, their women voters supported him.

There is basis for a mild suspicion that the ladies who run the suffrage movement from a New York headquarters have not quite grasped the idea that is lodged in the pretty heads of the ladies over on the other side of the country who actually have a vote, and are using it to suit themselves.” [4]

We’ll close with a 1916 post-election day editorial from the Tacoma Times.

Ornery Women

Women are contrary.

They’re so contrary, darn ’em, that if a candidate’s supporters tell stories against the other fellow and the stories turn out to be lies, they’re as likely as not to vote against the candidate whose supporters told the stories.

And unjust criticism is likely to swing their sympathies–and their votes–to the person criticised.

And if you try arguments–like that one about “democrats and Hard Times,” “Republicans and Prosperity,”–they go off by themselves and think and talk it over until they see through it and come back at you with “How about the hard times in Roosevelt’s administration?”

And if you try stampede methods, like sending a Golden Special all through the west to tell ‘em how to vote, they stampede in the other direction.

This thing of women’s voting is fierce! If it keeps up, it isn’t going to be possible to tell anything about a candidate but the truth; or criticise him except when he deserves it; or use money when your arguments give out; or do the voters’ thinking for them; or anything!

And what’ll become of the professional politicians and dust-throwers and mud-slingers then, eh?

They’ll be out of jobs, that’s what! And the country’ll have to get along without ’em; and serve it right, for letting women vote! [5]

Works Cited

[1] “How Many of the Four Million Will Vote?” Ladies Home Journal 33, no.4 (1916): 12, ProQuest Women’s Magazine Archive.

[2] Kendrick A. Clements and Eric A. Cheezum, Woodrow Wilson (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2003), 119.

[3] Christine A. Lunardini, From Equal Suffrage to Equal Rights: Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party, 1910-1928 (New York and London: New York University Press, 1986), 88.

[4] “Surprises in the voting,” Washington times (Washington [D.C.]), 10 Nov. 1916: 8, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026749/1916-11-10/ed-1/seq-8/.

[5] “Ornery Women,” editorial, Tacoma times (Tacoma, WA.), 10 Nov. 1916: 4, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085187/1916-11-10/ed-1/seq-4/.


Halloweens Past Look to the Future

by Amy Blau  Oct 31 16

Looking back 100 years or so, how did Americans celebrate Halloween? Trick-or-treating was not established, although pranks certainly were; decorating with jack-o-lanterns was popular, and costumes were much in demand. Both children and adults tended to celebrate with parties or masquerades.

One set of customs seems to have died out: communicating with the spirits in order to see the future, most commonly expressed as who you would marry. There were any number of “charms” that were used to indicate compatibility; some were mentioned in a poem by Robert Burns. For instance, two nuts would each be assigned a name. They could thrown in the fire, and their placement as they burned would indicate if the couple would remain together or part.

Another set of charms were related to mirrors at midnight; if a young woman looked into a mirror at that hour under the right circumstances, she would see her future husband’s face reflected.

“In a thousand boarding schools a thousand girls will creep down the cellar stairs holding a mirror and a candle as the hour strikes 12, looking fearfully for the reflected face which is to tell them of the future; and in more than a thousand apartment houses–where there are no cellar stairs–young women will eat an apple before a mirror and hold a candle by whose light they expect to see that same prophetic vision” — The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]), 31 Oct. 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

poem with illustrations: two rows of cats, a woman with a candle looking into a mirror, a man kissing the same woman's hand.

The Pensacola journal. (Pensacola, Fla.), 25 Oct. 1906. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87062268/1906-10-25/ed-1/seq-2/>

Explore magazines and newspapers through our Primary Sources LibGuide for more historical Halloween fun. Happy Halloween!

[Some of the links will require a login with your Whitman ID.]

Walla Walla “Watches” the World Series

by Amy Blau  Oct 28 16

Post by Ben Murphy

Librarians and student workers have been busy moving some collections of digitized images to ARMINDA, our institutional repository. We’ve just finished our first large chunk of this project, the Walla Walla Photographs Collection. We’ll be sharing a few highlights from this collection over the coming weeks.



The title of this photograph, part of the new collection in ARMINDA, raised the question: “What’s a Play-o-graph”? As it turns out, this was a timely question. Several of us at Penrose are invested in the current World Series matchup between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians. The Playograph was how Walla Wallans “watched” the World Series in the early twentieth century. In the photo, a group of local residents are congregated on Alder St., between 1st and 2nd. Not visible in this particular photo is the object of their attention. The Playograph, according the the Walla Walla Bulletin in 1926, was a device that “gives every conceivable play that can be made on a baseball diamond and shows each play graphically on the 15 by 12 foot board.” Several operators would receive updates on the game by telegraph, then move pieces of the board corresponding to the ball and players to graphically represent all the game action. Here’s a closeup that the Bulletin printed in 1926.


Playographs drew large crowds across the United States, especially during the World Series. This image from the Library of Congress shows a crowd watching the 1911 World Series in New York. Here’s another crowd in Muncie, Indiana in 1923. A blogger for Connecticuthistory.org has noted that Playographs lost popularity as radio broadcasts emerged in the 1920s. However, it seems that communities away from major metropolitan areas, like Walla Walla and Muncie, relied on their Playographs through the early 1930s. The Bulletin, the owner of the local Playograph, invited “every baseball fan from Pomeroy to Pendleton and from Kennewick to Toll Gate” to join in the viewing, which was free and open to the public.

In American History Illustrated in 1991, baseball writer Norman Macht described how the Playograph was but one in a series of mechanical and electrical devices, many of which were patented, that attempted to recreate the live action for spectators. These fans would “stand for hours in the streets and parks of cities and towns across the country, in all kinds of weather, watching what we would regard as primitive ‘real-time’ re-creations of the events taking place up to hundreds or occasionally thousands of miles away.”


Before the 1915 World Series, a small advertisement in the Sporting Page of the New York Evening World invited New Yorkers to view the 1915 World Series on the “Famous Jackson Manikin Board.” Macht describes this device as “especially elaborate.” He continues:

“Somewhat resembling a huge pinball machine, this apparatus featured mechanical players realistically imitating real-life actions on a thirty-four-by-fifty-four-foot field that was complete with scoreboard and signs on the outfield fences. The miniature players moved out of dugouts to home plate, swung the bat (either left-handed or right-handed), ran, threw, ‘argued’ with the umpire, and even walked over to calm down a nervous pitcher.”

The Jackson Manikin Board never made it to Walla Walla. As Philip Bumb noted in the Atlantic, “for all its creative energy, the JMBI [Jackson Manikin Baseball Indicator] was too complicated and too resource intensive to be replicated widely.” While it was perhaps not the most technologically advanced viewing device, Walla Wallans still enjoyed “watching” their Playograph. Besides the baseball, the Bulletin reminded readers in its invitation from 1926: “there will be no ban on smoking and concessions will keep the fans filled with hot dogs and the customary drinks.”

For more photos of Walla Walla’s Playograph and excerpts from the Bulletin, see Joe Drazan’s Bygone Walla Walla blog.

Macht, Norman L. “‘Watching’ the World Series.” American History Illustrated. September/October 1991: 49-51.